Truth is often mistaken as mere facts leading people to believe that if they know certain facts, they know the truth. Truth is also frequently mistaken as the creed of a particular religion leading people to believe that if they are in association with a certain religion, they are “in the truth.” But truth is much more than facts and far more than a religious creed.
Notice what Jesus said about what truth is. He said:
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
– John 14:2-6
Do we really understand the import of these words? Jesus says that he is the way and the truth and the life. Therefore, when man is searching for life, he is searching for Jesus; when man is searching for the way to God, he is searching for Jesus; and when man is searching for truth, he is, in reality, searching for Jesus. Yes, Jesus himself is the personification of truth.
Ponder that thought for a moment: whenever man is searching for truth, he is searching for Jesus. No matter whether they are atheists, agnostics, Christians or non-Christians, whenever someone is looking for truth, they are knowingly or unknowingly seeking Jesus Christ, Son of God/Son of Man. This explains why so many people have not found truth. They have not found truth because they have not found the authentic Jesus.
When we understand that Jesus is the truth, we can see the error and arrogance in claiming that one’s religion is the exclusive domain of ‘the truth.’ Really, truth is to be found wherever the ideal of Jesus is expressed and experienced. Christianity does not have the copyright on Jesus! Many religions have ideas that are based on the ideal of Jesus. And the extent to which a religion teaches these ideas is the extent to which that religion has truth.
“Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right.”
– Acts 10:34-35
This may be a difficult concept to accept, especially for Christians. But all people must come to know that Jesus is not just a prophet of one branch of religion. He is the person God created for the purpose of creating our world and everything and everyone in it.
“Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
– John 1:3
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”
– Colossians 1:15-16
Though God, as the First Father, is the originator of all things, Jesus Christ is mankind’s immediate creator, father, and brother, who incarnated on our planet as Jesus of Nazareth. The prophet Isaiah described the incarnated Jesus this way:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
– Isaiah 9:6
When we understand that Jesus as the creator of our world and all things in our world, including all people of all religions, we can better understand why he refers to himself as “the truth.” He is the truth because he is the origin of everything that can be known. Every thing, every idea, every fact can be traced back to its creator, Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
And Jesus is the only one who has seen and can explain the First Father:
“No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”
– John 1:18
“No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.”
– John 6:46
Surely Jesus knows the whole truth and how to find it. He is the one that links heaven and earth. He is the only ‘way’ to the Father.
In the beginning, it was the First Father’s purpose that His son create a universe, bring it to perfection, and then present the perfected universe to the Father.
“Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.”
– 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
It was always the First Father’s purpose that earthling man become ‘perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect’ (Matthew 5:48) and be adopted as His spirit sons and daughters to be with Him in the heavens.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
– Ephesians 1:3-6
But early in man’s history, we lost our way. The Bible describes this tragedy in the simplified tale of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis. In spite of the failure of Adam and Eve, man continued his pursuit of the Father in the best way he knew how. In the process, man went from one idea to another, from one philosophy to another, from one religious concept to another until our planet was in total confusion. The only solution was for our creator to incarnate as a man and show us the way, introduce the truth, and awaken us to the real life. This he did as Jesus of Nazareth.
During his earthly sojourn, Jesus demonstrated how a man can find God and reach his potential as a spirit son of God. He lived among man and subjected himself to the realities of life as a man. He did not use his divine power and authority to lessen his load or to escape the consequences of earthly life. He bravely faced every challenge, even going so far as to submit to an ignominious death at the hands of his own creation. As creator, he could have called upon legions of angels to protect him from harm. (Matthew 26:52-53) Or he could have abandoned his physical body at any time and avoided such a painful and shameful death. But he does not demand more from us than he himself was willing to undergo. He did not go around the tribulation, he went through it. And he was victorious.
Though Jesus was put to death, God resurrected him. (Acts 2:32) In this way, he was a further example to mankind as the ‘firstborn from among the dead.’ (Colossians 1:18) His death served many purposes, among them was the assurance that if we die faithful, we, too, will be resurrected like Jesus to continue our pursuit of the First Father in the ‘life that is truly life.’ (1 Timothy 6:19)
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
– Romans 6:5
For all of these reasons, Jesus could say that he is ‘the way and the truth and the life.’ (John 14:6) Thus, it does not matter what religion we belong to. All mankind, no matter where situated, no matter their race, nationality, creed or gender, can find truth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
The so-called truth of men is near worthless and has no power to lead men to their divine destiny. No doctrines or creeds outside of the truth in Christ Jesus can develop in us the kind of faith that will help us find the Father. More than likely, man’s so-called truth will stifle creativity, imprison imagination, unfairly limit personal freedom, and lead us to more confusion. The Apostle Paul showed this in his counsel to young Timothy:
“As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work— which is by faith.”
– 1 Timothy 1:3-4
Here, Paul shows us the weakness of religious creeds. He says that theological doctrines are a distraction. Unless the knowledge “which is by faith,” it will serve no meaningful purpose. Paul continued:
“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.”
– 1 Timothy 1:5-7
The objective of all true teachings is to develop in the disciple ‘love out of a clean heart and a good conscience, and faith without hypocrisy.’ Being caught up in various doctrines and interpretations will cause us to get off track, and we will become nothing more than teachers of law rather than living examples of truth in emulation of Christ Jesus. If we focus on knowledge ‘which is by faith,’ we can find Jesus and therefore, we can find truth.
Remember, Jesus said:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30
His message was not a burdensome collection of do’s and don’ts. In fact, he gave only two commandments:
“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
– Matthew 22:35-40
Commandments and creeds in excess of what Jesus taught are not truth. Jesus is truth, and when we come to know the authentic Jesus, then we will have found truth.
But, in order to be free, more is needed than merely identifying what truth is. We must bring truth into our lives. We must have ‘belief in the truth’ (2 Thessalonians 2:13), testified about your 'faithfulness to the truth’ (3 John 3), ‘are walking in the truth’ (3 John 4), and ‘speak truthfully’ (Ephesians 4:25). To the person who does not live the truth, truth is nothing more than spiritual trivia.
Our next article in this symposium will take us one step farther in our quest for truth and show us how to prepare ourselves to receive the truth that is Christ Jesus, Preparing Ourselves for Truth.